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What's all the noise about?

I, for one, do not understand it when people say they don't understand Metallica. And there are lots of such people out there, writes Manit Moorjani.

brunch Updated: Jul 28, 2012 19:22 IST
Manit Moorjani
Manit Moorjani
Hindustan Times

Everybody has their own interests when it comes to music, and with the plethora of new styles coming into music on an almost daily basis, starting with its very dawn, what appeals to us is consequently more and more varied. But of all the genres and mongrel flavours out there, the genre of Metal seems to stand out in the sense that it is not understood by many around us. It obviously has its following and its brotherhood, and it also has its wannabes swarming around it like bees, but most common in our society are the ones who misunderstand it, or rather, never understand it. Never mind the waves of Heavy Metal that gushed back and forth Western shores decades ago, a major chunk of our society seems to be playing a different ball game all together.

MetalI, for one, do not understand it when people say they don't understand Metallica. And there are lots of such people out there. On certain probing, I found that they say they don't understand the whole "jhan jhan jhing jhing" of it. It's like all they hear is the noise in the distortion, not the melody that such simple guitar affects can create. Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against people disliking, or at least not regularly adhering to, a particular genre of music. To each his own. I crossed my rap/hip-hop phase, for instance, as soon as I heard Pearl Jam. But what bothers me is that jhing jhing jargon that erupts out of, in my view, either impatience or ignorance. When it comes to metal, consider the often subtle, often harsh, lyrics that in a way govern the guitars. I really am not praising Metallica, that would be a waste. Metal is probably a genre not for the masses, but then so is the case with Jazz. Just the way Jazz has its followers, and the unaware rest, so does Metal. But, people oblivious towards Jazz don't really have much to say about it, there is a widespread acceptance of the power of Jazz. But step over to Metal, and the unacquainted conjure up a noise of opinions. Add to that, the bewildered look and the shrug.

So why is Metal targeted in such a way. Is it because it seems very dark, or maybe it feels very rash and angry. But Metal isn't really that hostile. The most unassuming and sorted of people enjoy it. So maybe one needs a certain state of mind to align with it in the beginning. But take psychedelic rock for example, one undoubtedly requires a certain state of mind for that. But all these bothered-by-Metal listeners seem to cherish psychedelic rock in high esteem, while plugging out Metal as "just noise". I quite fail to understand how one fails to notice the nature of Metal, and the spirit with which it is sung. But then again, benighted as one might stand, I, as many others, would say this to all the Metal-molested out there - Metal is certified 100% genuine music!


From HT Brunch, July 29

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First Published: Jul 28, 2012 17:08 IST